Monday, 27 July 2009

What do you think of online Poetry Journals

Southword has gone exclusively online. I think it's a terrible idea. It lumps it together with many many other journals whose reputation and choice of published pieces range from substandard to highly questionable through dire, woegeous and pathetic.

And who reads online journals anyway? Not very many poets. Only those who waste valuable writing time surfing.

I had a virtual flick through it and I know I'm not going to read them all. It's much easier to stop reading a webpage than a book. A book sits on the floor, table, in the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen until you either shelve it or pick it up and continue to read it. As for a webpage, you have to decide to go back to it deliberately.

Are the writers paid? I don't think so. Update - they are paid in Southword. How does their cashflow work then? Advertising?

Did they select my poem? No (!) I think I would have withdrawn anyway.

Having said all this, there's a quality list of poets ...

What do you think?


ideealisme said...

Southword do pay - somewhere between €50 and €75 I think - or at least they did a few years ago.

I do tend to agree that having material freely available as it would be on an online site can devalue it. It's not great for writers who want to set up a collection of short stories but have their entire corpus of work freely viewable online. Perhaps a good compromise would be for them to have it online on a subscription only basis.

I will miss the paperback for sure, the magazine was produced quite nicely. But I suppose unless people can be encouraged to buy these magazines it's a lossmaker.

Niamh B said...

Have never thought of it that way, but I think you're right about something being lost when it moves strictly over to electronic. The physical book is harder to ignore, and more transportable, less noisy, more soulful.


I am sorry to lose Southword as a physical mag but they are not in the league of crappy mags, so I think they are a bad example of poor online standards in work.
They do pay - I got €30 for my poem in the current online issue.
They also have strict editorial practices (also paid) - not every old thing will get published just because they now have the space to publish a lot. Unlike some online mags who seem to publish everything they receive.

Emerging Writer said...

I know Southword have a good reputation but now they are only online, they will be lumped in with the other, less selective mags. And therein lies the problem.

Forum said...

The world has moved on. There are four reasons on-line only journals have been looked down upon:

- They are inadequately gate-kept or curated, i.e. they published just about anyone.

-They didn't pay their contributors.

-Respected writers didn't publish in them.

-Lack of peer-regard: other literary people (editors, publishers, fellow writers) do not regard publication in such a venue as a credit or success.

The first two or three reasons are no longer valid for a new wave of on-line only journals: for example Salt's Horizon Review, Blackbox Manifold, and the Manchester Review (if it's good enough for John Banville it's good enough for me).

The fourth reason (lack of peer regard) is becoming less and less valid as more and more people get used to the idea that quality is being provided through this delivery mechanism as much as it is through paper.

Emerging Writer said...

There are some good online journals but
a. how does the average punter know which is which? Which to read, which to ignore?
b. how do they work financially? i.e. who pays to keep them going?